County’s COVID-19 positivity rate declines again, to 6.71%, CDC reports

More deaths recorded at Sarasota Memorial Hospital campuses over past week

Sarasota County’s COVID-19 transmission level dipped a bit again over the past week, as noted in the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Averaged for the seven days through Oct. 9, the rate was 6.71%, the CDC said. That was down 0.8% from the previous seven-day average, the CDC noted.

As The Sarasota News Leader reported last week, the seven-day average through Oct. 2 was 6.98%.

Additionally, the CDC’s latest status update for the county, shown on the federal website on Oct. 13, reported 210 new COVID-19 cases countywide for the seven days through Oct. 11. That figure was down almost 16% from the 243 total for the seven days through Oct. 4.

Further, the CDC on Oct. 13 reported a case rate of 56.02 per 100,000 county residents as the seven-day average through that date. That compares to the seven-day average of 85.53 per 100,000 residents as of Oct. 6. The seven-day average through Sept. 22 was 121.04, the CDC noted at that time.

Moreover, the CDC’s Oct. 13 status report showed only 2.7% of the county’s hospital beds were in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19 infections. That figure marked a slight decline from the 3% level the federal agency noted on Oct. 6.

However, the CDC reported that its seven days of data through Oct. 10 found that the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in use by COVID patients represented 5.8% of the total in the county. That figure was up from 5% in the Oct. 3 CDC report.

This week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) did resume daily reports on its COVID-19 patient data, reflecting the situations on its Sarasota and Venice campuses. However, the News Leader did not find an update for Oct. 13, just prior to its publication of this issue.

From Oct. 9 through Oct. 12, SMH noted a high of 38 COVID patients on Oct. 9. The lowest figure for the period was 25, shown in the Oct. 12 update.

The CDC’s data released on Oct. 10 pointed to an estimate of 35 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospitals in the county over the seven days through that date. The agency reported that it had confirmed eight new COVID admissions per 100,000 county residents over the seven days as of that date, adding that the figure represented an 18.5% drop from the previous seven-day calculation.

The largest number of patients in the SMH ICUs during the same time frame was seven, on Oct. 9. By Oct. 12, the number had fallen to three.

Further, SMH reported more COVID deaths this week. The total as of Oct. 12 was 722 since the first pandemic cases were identified in the county in March 2020.

Prior to Hurricane Ian’s strike, SMH had put its total number of deaths at 713. That was the figure noted in the health care system’s Sept. 19 report.

Finally, the latest CDC map for the state of Florida showing transmission levels for each county, as of Oct. 5, made it clear that Sarasota County is in the minority with its “Medium” status. In Southwest Florida, only DeSoto and Charlotte counties joined Sarasota County at that level.

On the eastern side of the state, only Osceola County had a “Medium” status. A cluster of “Medium” counties also ran from Hamilton County, on the border with Georgia, through Dixie and Levy counties, on the west coast, near the Big Bend area.